Energy Fiji Limited is advising people that a totally different approach with an extremely high safety focus is taken in the process of power restoration during a cyclone-related power outage.
As Tropical Cyclone Mal moves closer to the Fiji group, EFL says during cyclones, an electricity network is impacted, particularly the overhead like power lines could be broken and poles may have fallen and/or displaced, landslides bringing trees/vegetation onto power lines, customer service mains (black wire connecting the EFL grid supply to individual installations) may be broken and/or houses damaged, or pillar boxes (customer service mains connection point) could have sustained water damage due to flooding
EFL says for safety reasons, every metre of the overhead power line needs to be inspected and confirmed safe, as well as a visual confirmation that there are no damages to any house supplied by the EFL grid before the power line is repaired, if necessary and then switched on.
On the other hand, in the event of an unplanned power outage during normal times, the power restoration process involves restarting the power generators and switching on areas one at a time.
EFL says the process is generally straightforward and restoration of supply is accomplished without too much delay.
They add that there has to be a positive safety confirmation as assumptions cannot be made that the power lines and houses are not damaged.
EFL says this could be livening up an unsafe power line or customer service mains and causing an electrical incident/accident which could lead to fatality or electrical fires that could damage property.
They are also advising their customers that it could take at least three days after the cyclone all-clear is issued by the Fiji Meteorological Service and/or DISMAC and the helicopter patrol of the overhead power lines has been carried out before they would be in a position to advise customers of expected restoration times, and this would be communicated to the customers via various communication mediums and updated daily.
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